Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12105/16488
Impact of Influenza Vaccination on the Burden of Severe Influenza in the Elderly: Spain, 2017-2020
Vaccines (Basel). 2023 Jun 17;11(6):1110.
Annual influenza vaccination is the main strategy to reduce the burden of seasonal influenza epidemics and is recommended for the elderly in most countries with influenza vaccination strategies, with the main objective of preventing hospitalizations and mortality associated with seasonal influenza in this age group. Studies from different countries have estimated the benefits of seasonal influenza vaccination programs in the elderly, preventing a considerable number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths every year. A study measured the number of medically attended confirmed influenza cases in primary care that are prevented annually by vaccination in the population aged 65 and older in Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal, but estimates of the impact of the national influenza vaccination program in the prevention of severe disease in Spain are lacking. The two objectives of this study were to estimate the burden of severe influenza disease in the Spanish population and to measure the impact of influenza vaccination in the prevention of these outcomes in the population aged 65 years and older. Using influenza surveillance systems put in place before the COVID-19 pandemic, we conducted a retrospective observational study to estimate the burden of hospitalizations and ICU admissions in Spain between 2017-18 and 2019-20, by season and age group. Burden estimates for the 65+ group, combined with vaccine effectiveness (VE) and vaccination coverage (VC) data, were used as input data in an ecological, observational study to estimate the impact of the influenza vaccination program on the elderly. We found a higher burden of severe influenza disease in seasons 2017-18 and 2018-19, with A(H3N2) circulation, and in the youngest and oldest age groups. In those aged 65 and older, we estimated an average of 9900 influenza hospitalizations and 1541 ICU admissions averted by vaccination each year. Seasonal influenza vaccination was able to prevent between 11 and 26% influenza hospitalizations and around 40% ICU admissions in the elderly in the three pre-pandemic seasons. In conclusion, our study complements previous analyses in the primary care setting in Spain and demonstrates the benefits of the annual influenza vaccination program in the prevention of severe influenza disease in the elderly, even in seasons with moderate VE.
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